“We’re constantly enrolling students here. It was more like a tsunami of students when it first hit,” Hogan said. “We were enrolling 30-35 new students each day over a three week period in August to September.”
Today, the school boasts an enrollment of approximately 960.
After conducting dozens of orientations and hiring a number of new teachers and staffers to match enrollment, the school was up and running at its previous space at the former Lieser Elementary School in mid-October, Hogan said.
The new facility will provide classrooms, computer labs, counseling offices and more for students to use intermittently throughout the week. High school students will also have their own courtyard area for lunch on days that they’re on campus.
Another important feature of the new building, Hogan said, will be the family-community resource center: a community resource room with a kitchen, table space, a conference room and laundry machines. Hogan said the room is part of a district-wide effort to support families in need and unaccompanied minors.
“Years ago, the district started coordinating ways to provide basic needs for families in finding jobs, rental assistance, food and clothing at the schools,” Hogan said. “It’s a real attempt to use the bond measure to improve the quality of life and learning for students and families.”
The district now has 31 employees working to aid family-community resource center programs throughout elementary, middle and high schools.
The courtyard for high school students reflects a goal to create unique spaces for students of all ages in the school, according to Vancouver Public Schools’ support service manager Jack Claros.
Claros said supply chain issues had impacted the project’s timeline in unexpected ways, such as an inability to get small panes of glass for classroom doors. The project was initially expected to be finished in summer of 2021.
“I think we’ve accepted this is a modernization project,” Claros said. “It’s no surprise that between COVID and the reality of shortages that there would be setbacks. Considering all that, I don’t think six months is bad at all.”
The building’s renovation features an all-new roof, new windows, wiring and technology updates and flooring replacements throughout. The original building, Claros said, was built over 50 years ago and last remodeled in the 1990s, so there was some significant work to be done.
“It takes the support of the community, it takes the hard work of trades, educators, teams in communication and planning to get a project like this done,” Claros said.
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